As a mother, you feel ecstatic when your baby arrives. This time is the moment that you can say, “the wait is finally over.” However, the first weeks with your baby is not as fun as you might think – there is a lot of sacrifices you will be taking. One example is that he tends to cry out a lot at night that will definitely make you give up hours of sleep! Henceforth, sleep deprivation is definitely on edge! So, how do you survive sleep deprivation with a newborn?
First, you have to understand your baby’s sleeping cycle. By doing so, you can be more familiar with his patterns which can guide you with the next steps. After which, grab the chance to sleep whenever your baby’s sleeping as well, practice horizontal breastfeeding, ask for some help, engage your baby into sleep training or instill good sleeping habits to him, and allow him to get exposed with noise in the room as he sleeps.
All these are essential in helping you and your baby experience a comfortable sleep each night. Hence, to help you more on how to deal with sleep deprivation, we have provided you in this article the details of each tip.
Preparing For The Coming Of Your Newborn
As a mother, you should always possess the quality of planning and acting proactively. Meaning, before an event happens, you should already know how to deal with it. This behavior is also commonly applied when you are preparing to give birth. You check for the baby’s gender and buy all the necessary materials your baby needs.
On your part as a mom, you also prepare on the adjustments you have to make. These adjustments include changes in food intake, creating your home baby-friendly, and most especially adjustments in nights that you will be spending with minimum hours of sleep. So how do you really deal with the sleepless nights?
First, talk to your husband about your sleeping needs and capabilities. Ask yourself, can you spend long hours without sleep? If not, shifting schedules could work best for you. Do you prefer to have a full rest in the morning or at night? If you prefer to regain your strength by staying awake in the morning and having a full rest at night, then you can ask for a morning schedule.
Further, having a nurse or babysitter at home will make things easier for both of you and your partner. It is like having someone to substitute in keeping up with your baby’s needs when you and your partner need some rest. These are just a few options you could take. So to conclude, all these should already be decided before your baby arrives as scheduling is one of the essential preparations.
Understanding Your Baby’s Sleep
In order to beat sleep deprivation, you should also first understand your baby’s sleeping pattern and go with it smoothly. Because even if you hate it so much, it is really part of a newborn’s nature to wake up and cry at night. There are several reasons why this happens. Here are some of them:
- Sleep Cycle. Your newborn is still making adjustments with his sleep cycle. Therefore, you might notice that he tends to stay awake the entire night and fall asleep in the morning or vice versa.
- Your newborn sleeps an average of 15 to 17 hours a day. Babies on newborn stage dedicate their longest time in sleeping. They tend to sleep for eight to ten hours at night, and naps of seven hours in the morning. In total, they get 15 to 17 hours a day. If your baby’s sleep seems to be out of this range, you do not have to worry that much. Every baby is unique in their ways.
- Getting used to being nursed. We always make a habit of nursing and rocking our baby in the morning. This is to give him a good nap in the morning, and you cannot deny that you are a little sensitive with his sobs. However, little did we know that he is actually getting used to being nursed. Hence, if it is already your time to rest at night, he will cry out just to wake you up and rock him to sleep.
- Crying is normal for babies. Most nights, your baby wakes you up by crying. But it is entirely normal for him. You just have to allow him to learn to soothe himself gradually. Soon enough, he will stop crying on his own. The only problem, in this case, is the bothersome loud cries that will wake you up from sleep. Which, again, will leave you sleepless and unrested.
- Finding a perfect position. If your baby suddenly cries from what you think is good sleep, he might just need some change in sleeping position. As he might be a little uncomfortable with his previous position, you can roll him over or rearrange his pillows. The best position is to allow him to lay down on his back. This position helps him to breathe freely.
Identifying The Importance Of Enough Sleeping To You
When you are feeling tired the entire day, all you need to have is overnight to sleep and rest. However, having a newborn that you should look after makes it all seems impossible to achieve. Hence after four to five long days of continuous tiredness and sleepless nights, you can now feel a little restless and sleep deprived.
Things get more serious if this scenario progresses for weeks and months. Hence, you might already be feeling worst signs of sleep deprivation as identified below:
- Grumpiness. You tend to be more ill-tempered even if it only involves simple things. At the same time, you quickly get stressed out with a tendency to feel things too much – so emotional.
- Lack of focus. You now find it hard to concentrate on things as you might feel a little light-headed. This feeling indeed distracts your a lot. In effect, you might have the tendency to be clumsy in your actions: like slipping things off your hand.
- Disorientation. When you are deprived of sleep, you tend to be disoriented and unable to think things straight. Henceforth, decision making can be the hardest job for you.
- You feel less or hungrier than usual. Some mothers who are often sleep deprived lose weight while some gain weight. This sudden change is because deprivation of sleep can trigger you to eat lesser or more than your usual servings. Either ways, both can be bad for your health.
How You’ll Get Enough Sleep With A Newborn
Your baby’s loud cries are the primary cause of having all those sleepless nights. With the above cited scenarios, sleep deprivation is definitely frightful especially when you have a newborn to handle. Everything feels foggy and uneasy. Similarly, you are also having the feeling of almost getting straight to sleep by merely blinking.
We know once and for all that this should not be your state when you start another day with your baby. You and your senses should be very alert and fully functional. Hence, as we care about every baby’s state of being, we have provided you some tips on how you can get enough sleep with a newborn:
- Grab the chance to sleep whenever your baby’s sleeping as well. Mothers always keep track of everything – bills, dishes, laundry, groceries, and such. Hence, the perfect way to do all these chores is whenever your baby’s having his naps in the morning or afternoon.But, in order for you to get enough sleep with your newborn, it is always recommended that you grab the chance to sleep whenever your newborn’s sleeping as well. Whether it’s a ten-minute nap, it is still worth the rest. In conclusion, you first have to sacrifice the chores and reward yourself enough time to sleep. Just let others do those chores for you as your health as well as your baby’s are the top priorities.
- Practice horizontal breastfeeding. This is the secret that all mothers should know. When you are feeding and sending your baby to sleep at the same time, it is advisable that you do it horizontally.Meaning, both are you are lying down straight in bed.Not only it calms your baby to have you at his side, but also gives the both of you enough time to bond and take a nap together. So if you had a rough night because of your baby’s loud cries, this is the perfect time for you to regain the hours of sleep that you have lost.
However, if your baby has a tendency to barf after feeding especially if he skipped his burps, then horizontal breastfeeding might not be good for him.
- Ask for some help. If you are feeling restless and you are certain that having an hour of nap will help you regain your energy, then ask help from other people. These people may be your partner, relatives, close friends, or your baby’s nurse or babysitter.Entrust them that they will also do a good job in looking out for your baby while you are up for some sleep. At the same time, pediatricians recommend that you and your partner should establish a shifting schedule. For example, the mother will take care of the baby at night, while the father sleeps.
In the morning, the mother who’s awake the entire night can now have the full rest, while the father looks out for the baby. Any shifting schedule may work as long as you communicate on your preferences. By this means, you will prevent yourself from being deprived of sleep.
- Sleep training. Engaging babies into sleep training is getting a lot of mixed stances. Some parents see this as rude while some see it as an effective way to teach your baby sleeping measures that will be beneficial for you and him.Sleep training can already be started for as early as six weeks. To start off with the process, you have to introduce a fixed bedtime routine to your baby. Make sure that you send your baby to sleep in a consistent time. After which, try to wake up your baby on the same time at the morning each day. By this means, your baby’s body will also get used and adapt to this routine.
Further, sleep training involves three approaches: cry it out, no tears, and fading. The cry it out approach consists in allowing your baby to cry until he learns to calm himself to sleep. Put him to bed while he’s awake and allow him to have short periods of crying until he relaxes. Take note that this should not be done indefinitely.
You should still be cautious if things get a little overboard.The second one is the no tears approach. In contrary to the above approach, this method allows you to comfort your baby as soon as he starts crying. This will give your baby the tendency to stop his cries and relax the moment he receives comfort from parents.
Lastly, the fading approach. This method can be done by sitting right next to your baby every bedtime. To practice fading approach, you should move farther from your baby each night. This will allow him to get used to not having comfort every time he wishes to.
At first, you will have a hard time to try out what approach works best for your baby. But if you found out the right approach and allow your baby to engage in the training, you and your baby will sleep each night peacefully.If you are still worried if this might cause harm to your baby, well, you shouldn’t. Plenty of studies show that babies who are sleep trained do not suffer any damage and may be better sleepers as adults.
- Instill good sleeping habits in your baby. If you are still uncertain whether you should go with sleep training, instilling good sleep habits in your baby can be the best alternative. This can be done through simple steps.Firstly, create a fixed sleeping routine where he can follow through.This gives him the chance to adapt and get used to your routine. Secondly, you should always provide your baby with a peaceful and relaxing sleeping zone as well as a sleeping environment. By doing so, it gives him the independence of soothing himself to sleep. Hence, as time goes by, he will not be relying upon you rocking him to bed every night.
- Help the baby sleep with noise in the room. Setting up with white noise in the background while your baby starts to sleep is useful in making him relaxed and comfortable. Aside from it serves as an alternative to giving him lullabies, it also helps him in getting used to little noises while he sleeps. In effect, this will help him not to get easily startled when loud bangs start to play in the background.
Other Tips You Need To Know
Aside from the tips as mentioned earlier on how you’ll get enough sleep with your newborn, below are other self-care tips to support your healthy sleeping patterns:
- Follow a healthy diet. Eating whole grains, fruits, and other food that are rich in protein is essential to help you function well even if you had less sleep. You can eat chicken, veggies, easy cooked hard-boiled eggs, bread, or oatmeal for breakfast.All these can give you the energy you need to function the whole day. Further, avoid eating food with lots of sugar content as well. The sugar rush may react differently with your body especially that you did not have enough number of sleep. As you might feel a little overactive, your body gets stimulated which will give you a hard time to have a deep sleep.
- Go outside and get enough sun. Getting enough heat from the sun will make you feel alert and ecstatic. Hence, if it happens that you and your baby are finally up in a beautiful morning, take him in a carrier or stroller and stroll around outside.You would get the feeling of positivity and alertness even if you had a rough night. This will also give you and your baby the energy you need for the entire day of work and play. Aside from that, the walks you do while you stroll can already be considered as a little exercise for you. Hence, later on the day, you can have a full rest nap.
- Stay hydrated. Adequate hydration will keep your body functions well. It helps your brain produce hormones that improve your cognitive ability and balances the fluid in your body to maintain energy levels. At an average, your body needs eight glasses a day – well, more is always better. As you tend to lose focus when you lack sleep, drinking enough water will at least calm your mind and make you feel a little better.
- Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and nicotine. Do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes when you did not get enough sleep with your newborn. The prime reason for this is because the substances they contain will stimulate your nervous system. In effect, you will find it really hard to be in a deep sleep.Aside from this, alcohol will get you clumsier. The lack of sleep and the alcohol substance will make it dangerous for you to handle your fragile baby. The same prohibition goes with cigarettes. Nicotine remains in your lips and clothes even after several hours. Hence, as your baby inhales this substance, it’s a possible risk that he develops lung complications.
- Avoid using gadgets. Once you get enticed with your gadgets, it will now be hard for you to once again go back to your sleeping vibe. You now transfer your focus on what you are seeing in the gadget rather than sleeping. Similarly, exposing your eyes to bright screens makes it harder for your eyes to put into rest. Hence, your eyes will require another re-adjustment.
- Limit your caffeine. Caffeine is not always a good idea to help you stop the feeling of sleepiness. If you had too much of this energy booster, you might regret it at night as it kicks in after some hours. Taking caffeine is also not advisable especially if you are like me, who has a low caffeine tolerance. You cannot sleep as easy as you intend to.However, there are some who really can’t go through a day without drinking coffee. If you are one of them, train yourself to take caffeine in strict schedules. You may take a small amount in the morning, and skip afternoon and evening. In this case, you’ll still be having a good rest at night.
- Remind yourself that sleep deprivation is temporary. When you are deprived from sleep, every night feels longer than usual. The same with mornings that feels as though it will last forever. In this case, always think that it is a sacrifice that you are doing for your baby.And the best part, this is not going to be permanent. It’s just temporary – maybe for several weeks to months. After all, seeing your precious little one sleeping peacefully definitely makes all pain go away.
- Is it safe to sleep with a newborn in bed?Most doctors do not recommend co-sleeping with your baby as this increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But if you really want to, you can provide your baby a separate bassinet he can sleep on. This serves as your baby’s safe haven.
- What position should my newborn sleep?Newborns should always be put in their back when sleeping – not on their stomach or sides. Putting your baby to sleep in his back helps him to breathe well and freely. This also allows him not to put his weight on his arms or feet as he experiences when sleeping in sideways.
- How much sleep do moms of newborns get?Accordingly, parents of newborns often lose an average of two hours of sleep per night. This pattern lasts until newborns reach five months. By this time, newborns are already following a definite sleeping pattern.